Watford came from behind to pick up three vital points for the second time in a week, as they got the better of Newcastle at Vicarage Road in the lunchtime kick-off, winning 2-1.

The Hornets were underwhelming in the first-half and the visitors deservedly led through Dwight Gayle. However, two second-half penalties from Troy Deeney turned the game in Watford’s favour, taking them six points clear of the bottom three.

Head coach Nigel Pearson made no changes to the side that turned things around to claim three points against Norwich during the week, with Danny Welbeck once again starting as part of a front three with Deeney and Ismaila Sarr.

It was Newcastle who came out the traps with the greatest sense of purpose, as they took the game to the Hornets from the off. Miguel Almiron almost opened the scoring from a corner, but Ben Foster was alert to deny his back-post effort.

Then it was Watford’s turn to go close from an effort at the back stick, with Kiko Femenia’s cross picking out Welbeck, only for Martin Dubravka to turn his effort onto the post before Jamaal Lascelles hooked away the stray ball from underneath the bar.

Some slack defending from the Hornets gifted Steve Bruce’s men the opening goal. Matt Ritchie’s corner was flicked on by Federico Fernandes, who was completely unmarked, and Gayle turned it into the net at the back post having also shaken off his marker.

Newcastle almost scored a second ten minutes before the break when Gayle flicked the ball into the path of the dangerous Allan Saint-Maximin for a one-on-one, but Ben Foster came off his line swiftly and blocked the shot with his legs.

Gayle should have scored his and Newcastle’s second five minutes after the restart when he got on the end of Ritchie’s delivery, only to fire over from inside the box.

It was a miss he would instantly regret when Watford levelled the scoring soon after. A smart counter-attack saw Femenia burst into the box, where he was tripped by a clumsy Ritchie challenge. Craig Pawson pointed to the spot and Deeney fired straight down the middle, away from the diving Dubravka.

The skipper was then gifted a perfect chance to put the Hornets ahead when Fernandes’s sloppy pass out from the back was intercepted by Hughes. Deeney collected the loose ball but could only put his shot straight at the keeper.

The goal had clearly revitalised Watford somewhat however and a deflected effort from Welbeck that just cleared the bar and another shot from Doucoure that did the same suggested they would find a second, while a quick free-kick at the other end saw Saint-Maximin round Foster and put the ball in the net, only for the referee’s assistant to rule it out for offside.

The second goal did eventually come for the Hornets when Pawson pointed to the spot for a second time, after Sarr was hauled down in the box by Javier Manquillo. Deeney again provided the emphatic finish.

Newcastle never looked like getting back into the game after that, allowing Watford to pick up back-to-back league wins for the first time since January.